Count Me for John Edwards

05/25/2011 12:20 pm ET
  • Barry Yourgrau Author of Mess: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act

It's early. But I've decided to go with John Edwards.

Two recent items swayed me:

One, Harry Belafonte's support of Edwards. Belafonte is an immensely impressive guy. He finds Edwards the one major candidate addressing poverty for real. That Belafonte is not supporting the black candidate -- a strong candidate whose presidency by its very fact would have a powerfully salubrious iconic effect on America's profile in the world -- speaks much to me. (And yes, Belafonte is too leftie for some, calling Bush a tyrant etc., to the point where Edwards campaign kept a low profile about the endorsement. Ah, American politics.)

Second, Paul Krugman's recent column "Big Table Fantasies" sealed the deal. Krugman is not an oracle, but he's been one of the most bravely clear-eyed observers of Bush's dirty business from the beginning. He understands we don't need pieties of bipartisanship and common ground sea to warming sea.

What we need is our country back from the looters, the brazen despoilers, and the maniacs. We need someone to lead the fight -- and realize it's a fight, across the board.

Krugman: "Anyone who thinks that the next president can achieve real change without bitter confrontation is living in a fantasy world."

Today's Times op-ed by graybeards Hamilton and Kean, squarely declaring the obvious -- that the withholding of interrogation tapes is an obstruction of the 9-11 Commission -- shows again (again and again and again) the degree to which the powers that be believe they can flout anything and everything they care to.

We will have to fight to reclaim what this country is about -- including its sense of public reality. We need serious committed de-Bushification.

I believe John Edwards has the right spirit to start the job.

With the understanding that saints don't descend, armor twinkling, every four years. The grim truth of democracy seems to be that you have to keep working at it, tending it.

People seem only too happy to take it away from you.

Appreciations to where this post first appeared on my blog Brain Flakes.